There may be no Sky Ride in Edinburgh this year, but Saturday 26 April will see the third annual Pedal on Parliament ride. Last year's edition brought 4,000 cyclists including former world champion Graeme Obree onto the streets of the Scottish capital to campaign for safer roads and more investment in cycling infrastructure to turn Scotland into a cycling nation.
As in previous years, cyclists of all ages and abilities are invited to meet at the Meadows at noon, where a one-minute silence will be held to commemorate people killed on Scotland’s roads including the 12 cyclists who died last year and the two who have lost their lives so far in 2014.
The ride will then set off via the Royal Mile to the Scottish Parliament to call on politicians to back Pedal on Parliament’s manifesto, which calls for:
Proper funding for cycling
Cycling to be designed into Scotland’s roads
Slower speeds where people live, work and play
Cycling to be integrated into local transport strategies
Improved road traffic law and enforcement
The risk of HGVs to cyclists and pedestrians to be reduced
A strategic and joined-up programme of road user training and
Improved statistics supporting decision-making and policy.
The Scottish Government has an ambitious target of 10 per cent of journeys in the country to be made by bicycle by 2020, but Pedal on Parliament says it is “far behind” in achieving that goal, with census figures showing that the percentage of people commuting by bike grew only 0.1 of a percentage point in the decade to 2011, standing at just 1.6 per cent in that year.
The ride’s organiser, David Brennan, said: "This year Scotland will be hosting the Commonwealth Games, bringing some of the world's top cyclists to race around the streets of Glasgow.
“Yet if those same riders were to venture out in Glasgow on the roads that I and others cycle on any other day of the year, they would be shocked at how little quality provision there is for people who chose to travel by bike.
“As a result I often feel that my safety is compromised and many potential cyclists are discouraged from starting at all. We may have produced some great sporting cyclists as a nation but we're a very long way from being a cycle-friendly country.
“We want to see a Scotland where anyone - from Sir Chris Hoy to my four-year-old daughter - can enjoy the freedom of getting about by bike if they wish, and not having to wait until the roads are closed to do so."
Graeme Obree added: "Pedal on Parliament are not asking for spending here, but an investment, so that young people can cycle freely and without fear.
“We want a network from our homes to our workplaces, our shops, and schools and everywhere we want to go.
“It’s an investment in the health of the nation."
You can find more information on this year’s ride on the Pedal on Parliament website.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.